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Hollow, pH-sensitive calcium–alginate/poly(acrylic acid) hydrogel beads as drug carriers for vancomycin release



In this study, hollow calcium–alginate/poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) hydrogel beads were prepared by UV polymerization for use as drug carriers. The hollow structure of the beads was fortified by the incorporation of PAA. The beads exhibited different swelling ratios when immersed in media at different pH values; this demonstrated that the prepared hydrogel beads were pH sensitive. A small amount (<9%) of vancomycin that had been incorporated into the beads was released in simulated gastric fluid, whereas a large amount (≤67%) was released in a sustained manner in simulated intestinal fluid. The observed drug-release profiles demonstrated that the prepared hydrogel beads are ideal candidate carriers for vancomycin delivery into the gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, the biological response of cells to these hydrogel beads indicated that they exhibited good biological safety and may have additional applications in tissue engineering. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010